Monumentum pro Gesualdo

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Igor Stravinsky

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Monumentum pro Gesualdo (1960)
November 16, 1960, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Diana Adams, Conrad Ludlow

8 Min.
Set by
David Hays (1960)
Lighting by
David Hays (1960); Ronald Bates (1974); Mark Stanley (current production)

Known for its plush refinement, this streamlined leotard ballet arrests viewers with its formal beauty and simplicity.

The music for Monumentum Pro Gesualdo was composed to honor the 400th birthday of Don Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613), the 16th century’s most chromatic – and having been suspected of murder, most scandalous – composer.  The score was first performed on September 27, 1960 at the 23rd Venice Music Festival at La Fenice with Stravinsky conducting.  Lincoln Kirstein has said that these short pieces, danced by a principal couple and six supporting couples, evoke “the deliberate, almost sinister gravity and fatality shadowing court dances performed in the lifetime of this prince of madrigalists and murderers.”

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